Can Baofeng radios be tracked? (Here’s what you need to know about Baofeng)



Baofeng radios have become increasingly popular over the years due to their affordability and versatility. However, there have been concerns about whether these radios can be tracked. Many people want to know can Boating radios be tracked? Is it possible for the government or other entities to monitor the Baofeng radio usage of these amateur radio operators?

Tracking Baofeng radios is not the simplest of tasks.  In fact, it can be a rather difficult thing to do. Theyse devices can only be tracked while transmitting, but not while receiving. The level of tracking also depends on various factors such as the power output, frequencies used, and your location.

So, let’s dive right in and see can Baofeng radios be tracked?

Understanding Baofeng Radios

Baofeng radios, also known as BaoFeng UV-5R, are affordable handheld radios that have become increasingly popular among radio enthusiasts, hikers, hunters, and preppers. These cheap radios are designed to transmit and receive on a wide range of frequencies, including FRS, GMRS, and amateur radio bands.

One of the reasons why Baofeng radios are so popular is their affordability. They are cheap to buy. They are some of the cheapest radios on the market, making them accessible to lots of different people. However, because of this Baofeng radios are not as powerful or reliable as some of the more expensive radios. Also, they are not always compliant with FCC regulations.

BAOFENG BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio (136-174MHz VHF & 400-520MHz UHF) Includes Full Kit with Large Battery

Despite having certain limitations, Baofeng radios can still serve as a useful tool in certain situations. They are lightweight, portable, and their easy-to-use design make them a good choice for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. They can also be used for emergency communication, although in all honesty, they shouldn’t be relied upon as a substitute for a proper emergency communication system that you’d get with something like the Garmin 66i.

It is also worth noting that Baofeng radios are not really designed for professional use. They are most certainly not suitable for use by any first responders, law enforcement, or other professionals who require reliable and secure communication.

If you need a radio for professional use, it is vitally important to invest in a high-quality, reliable radio that is designed for your specific needs.

Can Baofeng Radios be Tracked?

Baofeng radios have been gaining popularity among radio amateurs and enthusiasts, emergency responders, and the military. However, there is a common question among users: can Baofeng radios be tracked?

The answer is yes, Baofeng radios can be tracked. When the radio is transmitting, it can be located by the government or other tracking entities.

can baofeng radios be tracked

Using a Baofeng radio to transmit over FRS/GMRS frequencies without a license is illegal in the United States. FCC rules state that the power must be less than 0.5W. Furthermore, the radio should not have a detachable antenna. The Baofeng UV-5R, for example, is rated up to 5W and has a detachable antenna, making it illegal for unlicensed use. The UK Regulator Ofcom has published this document that clarifies the various systems that are legal to use in the UK.

When the Baofeng radio is only receiving, it is like any other device that receives a radio signal and cannot be tracked. However, it is important to remember that if the radio is transmitting, it can be located and tracked.

Baofeng radios can, therefore, be tracked when they are transmitting, and using them to transmit over FRS/GMRS frequencies without a license is illegal in the United States. It is important to follow FCC regulations and use the radio responsibly to avoid any potential legal issues.

How to Prevent Tracking

If you’re a little worried about being tracked when using ayour Baofeng radio, then there are a few steps that you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Use the lowest power setting: The FCC regulations state that the power output must be less than 0.5W. Using the lowest power setting possible, means that you can also reduce the chances of being detected.
  • Use a non-removable antenna: The detachable antenna on the Baofeng UV-5R is one of the main reasons it’s not FCC compliant for FRS/GMRS use. By using a non-detachable antenna, you can also reduce the chances of being detected.
  • Get a licensed frequency: If you have a ham radio license, you can use other frequencies that are legal for your license class. This reduces the chances of being detected because you’re operating legally.
  • Using a directional antenna: Using a directional antenna can also help you to reduce the chances of being detected. This is because it can focus the signal in one particular direction instead of broadcasting it out in all directions.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: If you’re in an area where there are a lot of people or other radio signals, it’s more likely that you’ll be detected. Try to use your radio in an area that’s quieter and has less people in the vicinity if possible.

Whilst all of these steps can help reduce the chances of you being tracked, it’s important to remember that no method is ever foolproof. If someone is determined to find you, and if they have the capabilities, they may very well be able to do so. At the very least, however, you can make it as difficult as possible for them! 


Based on the information gathered from various sources, it is clear that Baofeng radios can be tracked when they are transmitting. Any directional antenna on the frequency being transmitted can home in on it and track it. However, the process of tracking a Baofeng radio is exhaustive and requires specialized equipment, making it less likely for the average person to track a radio.

It is important to note that using a Baofeng radio to transmit over FRS/GMRS frequencies (unlicensed) is illegal in the United States, due to FCC regulations that state that the power must be <0.5W and that the radio must not have a detachable antenna. Therefore, it is crucial to use the radio within legal limits to avoid any legal consequences.

At the end of the day, we can see that Baofeng radios can be tracked, but, thankfully,  it requires specialized equipment and a certain level of technical expertise. If you are using the radio for legal purposes and within the legal limits, there is absolutely no need for you to worry about being tracked. However, if, on the other hand, you are using the radio for illegal activities, do be aware that the radio can be traced by the authorities, and legal consequences may follow.

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